Arnold Schwarzenegger Convention Speech

I had an engagement and missed the televised activities tonight, which I TiVo’d. I heard the second part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech and the entirety of the Bush Twins intro of their folks, President Bush’s intro of his wife, and Laura Bush’s speech on the radio as I was driving home. So, perhaps my impressions are very much like those who thought Nixon won the 1960 debates with Kennedy even though he was unshaven and sweaty.

The part of Schwarzenegger’s remarks I heard were fabulous. Even the NPR commentators were gushing about it, likening it to Ronald Reagan at the height of his powers. He’s a talented speaker and came across quite nicely.

The Bush Twins were fine for 22-year-olds and would certainly have come across better with the benefit of the visuals. Leaving aside their age and beauty, they were a bit silly as by the standards of convention speakers. And the juxtaposition of “Sex and the City,” Grandma Bush, and 22-year-old twin hotties is more than I needed.

Laura Bush was absolutely terrific. The contrast between her sweet yet powerful delivery with the pretentious, grating, smarmy delivery of Tuhraysuh Heinz Kerry could not have been more stark. If this election is as close as 2000 with the same outcome, her speech might well turn out to be the difference maker. This lady plays well in the Heartland.

Update: Rob Tagorda found the Schwarzenegger speech especially poignant and has an extensive roundup of reactions from around the blogosphere.

Transcript: Remarks by California Gov. Schwarzenegger to the National Republican Convention (WaPo)

Schwarzenegger speech video. (WaPo)

Transcript: Remarks by First Lady Laura Bush to the Republican National Convention (WaPo)

Laura Bush speech video. (WaPo)

Update (1000 – 9/1): Amy Sullivan and Kevin Drum (and apparently Mort Kondracke and others on Fox News last night) were less kind to the Bush twins than my synopsis above. I must admit, I’m perplexed as to why they were given a prime time slot, let alone unleashed without a more thoroughly vetted script. Indeed, given that the networks didn’t cover Monday night, it seems to me that it would have been far better to put the girls on then and shift, say, Giuliani to the Tueday night prime time slot.

Update (1811 – 9/1): I just finished watching the Schwarzenegger speech via TiVo delay. It was quite impressive, indeed. It was one of the better convention speeches I’ve heard, in fact. It struck all the right chords: a bit of partisan tweaking without being nasty; plenty of red, white and blue; and uplifting without being maudlin or sappy.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


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